Traps Exposed: The “Death To Corporate Selfies”

In an article written by Jason Feifer for the July/August 2014 issue of Fast Company Magazine, he talks about how major and minor businesses and brands are capitalizing on the Internet phenomena:

  • Wheat thins promoted its brand by holding a selfie contest; winner gets a “personalized selfie” with Kelly Osbourne
  • Dove made a promotional movie for Sundance Film Festival, aptly entitled “Selfie”
  • Both Nike and Tictacs organized flash mobs for their costumes
  • Sony cameras left cameras for koalas in Australian zoos to “snap” themselves with
  • Some major brands have gone on to embed their logos in Snapchat

Jason relays the aimless campaigns delivered by brands in an attempt to get into the trend for promotional purposes.

The selfie memes and the fads bombarding the Internet have caught the attention of Corporate Companies trying to get on the bandwagon for marketing purposes. Yet, there is a thin line between taking advantage of the social trends of brand promotions and crafting a marketing strategy relatable to a trend. Just because it is a fad does not mean that it will succeed. One has to connect the dots if the campaign is actually relevant and within the realms of social meme before execution. If not delivered well the promotional attempt will face the inevitable doom.

How can we capitalize on the incredible power of new media while avoiding the traps exposed in Jason’s article “DEATH TO CORPORATE SELFIES! WHY CLUELESS COMPANIES CAN’T RESIST INTERNET MEMES”?

For companies and brands, both major and minor, to successfully leverage from Internet phenomena, the strategies employed should be fun, relevant and engaging. Few people can relate to Kelly Osbourne – her purple hair and taste for high fashion; hence the Wheat Thins fails.

The use of selfies stirs ambivalence among the general population, so if a company chooses to leverage on selfies as a marketing tool, the rewards should be something the consumers might find significant. This helps them clamor for the “prize” or reward, hence they are engaged in such a way that they do not feel like they are only participating to help promote the brand. Moreover, this will boost consumer sales and increase the brand’s presence in social media.

Hashtags, which may or may not accompany the selfie, is another form of Internet phenomena that may be used as a marketing tool provided they are catchy, simple and relatable.

Brand promotions and campaigns should be relatable as it keeps the consumers interested. Anything otherwise may only evoke irrelevance. This may even evoke a sense of detachment from consumers. For instance, one simply cannot find common ground between Wheat Thins and Kelly Osbourne.

Marketers need to comprehend the elements of real fad and underlying causes of such Internet phenomena. They also need to deliver its campaign without misconception. Otherwise the campaigns are delivered in vain and will be futile. Capitalizing on the power of new media should involve the strategy of relatability plus the element of fun and excitement in order to be successful, and a good measure away from stagnation.


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